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A Novel in a Year: A Novelist's Guide to Being a Novelist [Paperback]

Louise Doughty
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Jan 2008
Can you write a novel in a year? If you simply sit back and think about the enormity of writing a book, it will seem like a vast and unconquerable task, impossibly daunting. The way to make it less daunting is to break it down into its constituent parts, to do it bit by bit. Over the chapters herein, different aspects of technique are divided up into bite size chunks, the better to aid digestion. The book will look at different aspects of writing, with set exercises to help the reader along in their confidence and technique. It is designed to be read a chapter a week, with the aim of the fledgling writer having a body of material at the year's end which should form a solid start to their novel. Deeply practical, with sound advice at every stage, A NOVEL IN A YEAR is essential reading for any would-be novelist.

Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (7 Jan 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184739079X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847390790
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 19.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 263,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


'A breathtakingly honest and down-to-earth guide to writing a
novel, encouraging and inspirational' -- Victoria Hislop

'Does for fiction writing what Lynne Truss did for punctuation. If
you only buy one book about the novel-writing process, make it this'
-- Jill Dawson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Louise Doughty is the author of five novels, CRAZY PAVING, DANCE WITH ME, HONEY-DEW, FIRES IN THE DARK and STONE CRADLE. CRAZY PAVING was shortlisted for four awards including the John Llewelyn Rhys Prize and FIRES IN THE DARK won awards from the Arts Council of England and the K.Blundell Trust. She is also a recipient of an Ian St. James prize and a Radio Times Drama Award. She has written five plays for radio and worked widely as a journalist and broadcaster in London, where she lives.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
73 of 77 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A loosely-structured approach 7 Oct 2008
This book is a collection of weekly columns published in the Telegraph throughout 2006. At the time of writing this review the columns are still available to read on that newspaper's website. I was unaware of this when I bought the book and confess that I felt a bit grumpy at having shelled out for material I could have downloaded or printed off for free.
Anyway, leaving my chagrin aside, I began to read. The bones of the book are a series of exercises - 26 in all, one per fortnight. The intervening chapters contain advice from the author on the topic being covered, anecdotes from her own writing life and examples of the results of the exercises, selected from the many posted throughout 2006 to message boards (still viewable) on the website.
Exercises 1-8 are `idea-generating' and aim at simply assembling some material to work with. The writing subjects are unrelated to each other so you may end up with a random assemblage. The theory is that this should help you figure out roughly what you want to write about.
Exercise 9 asks you to summarise succinctly the plot of your novel.
Doughty then tells you to clear the decks for a ten-week intensive writing onslaught centred, in exercises 10-15, weeks 20 to 30, on your main character. You write a CV for her, create scenes where she is under stress, show what she wants from life and how she overcomes obstacles. I felt that this was the most focussed part of the book. It's also familiar territory if you've read these kinds of books before.
The later exercises cover technique. At this point, the author's sense of direction seemed to waver. `Some of the exercises that follow may prompt you to write episodes of your novel but it is important that you are also working on your book independently of the exercises...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Down to earth support 3 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
As clear, direct, and forthright as her own novels are. I would love to go on a writing workshop run by Louise Doughty. If for you, like for me, this is impractical, then get this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars it will equip you with a right mindset... 16 Sep 2011
Although you would be disappointed to realise you won't have a completed polished novel by the end of the year, nevertheless it will equip you with a right mindset and realistic expectations. The problem for many hopeful writers, myself included, is that at times they don't know where to start and how to proceed. Help is at hand as the book is there to rescue you and save you from falling into trap thinking it was time to stop. Persistence is what you need, so does this book!
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4.0 out of 5 stars inspiring and encouraging 15 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Louise Doughty offers some great exercises to kickstart the brain and wise advice. The structure of the book is useful and will help both the experienced writer needing a prod and the newbie with a great idea but no experience.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun 8 May 2013
By S. Kemp
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Our writer's group is now disbanded because our leader moved to New Zealand. But while we were studying this book we had great fun and I have to say that my novel will be finished one day. A lot of excellent writing was created in using this book and I am sure that many writers would find it a very useful tool.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Novel in a Year 14 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Have had a quick skim read while on a long journey. Will hopefully return systematically - time permitting. The suggestions seem very practical
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